The headline reads: “More Layoffs.”
Economic forecasts are grim, and business leaders scramble to tighten their belts.
But the team at MarketerHire doesn’t break a sweat.
As a company that connects freelance talent with businesses’ needs, MarketerHire operates as a proof of concept for its value proposition, with its own internal marketing team built of 80 percent freelance talent. The fluidity of this structure has given the company an edge.
“We are a great case study for our product,” said Director of Marketing Margaret Prowitt, who works full-time for the organization. “The majority of our department is composed of marketers from our network, and they are some of the top professionals I’ve worked with. The cool part is, with this model, the business is also saving money.”
MarketerHire is a two-sided, AI-driven talent marketplace dreamed up by CEO Chris Toy, who previously owned an ad agency. He wanted to build a business to match the ever-changing talent needs of modern marketing departments.
The company launched in 2019, matching expert marketers to companies on demand, just in time to meet the demand of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. “There was market instability and people didn’t know what was going to happen, so companies got more conservative about hiring,” said Senior Vice President of Marketplace Ash Garber.
It’s a model that has come en vogue again as economic headwinds have moved employers toward hiring freezes and workforce reductions to reduce costs.
“Companies that may not have been interested in a contractor are reassessing their staffing needs and looking to bring on freelance resources,” said Garber. “MarketerHire is the right solution when a company wants to be more strategic about their resources.”
Toy agreed, explaining, “In a tough economy, companies don’t want to pay for more than they need. With MarketerHire’s on-demand hiring model, you can hire the right amount of the right expert when you need it — and equally scale costs up or down. That flexibility is a superpower when it comes to a recession.”
“Flexibility is a superpower when it comes to a recession.”
And flexibility goes both ways: Contractors enjoy the freedom that comes with the model, too.
“It’s becoming more desirable to have a flexible schedule,” said Prowitt. “For example, we have an amazing email freelancer who never wants to go full-time. Last year she went on a month-long bike trip, this year she’s in Italy for a month. Having that flexibility is something people didn’t think was possible, and freelancing makes it possible.”
Perspectives toward freelance work have been shifting. According to McKinsey’s 2022 American Opportunities Survey, independent work is booming: 36 percent of employed respondents identified as independent workers, up from 27 percent in 2016.
HOW DOES AI MATCHMAKING WORK?
MarketerHire conducts calls and skill assessments with every candidate who applies to be in its pool of talent. “We do a 30-minute call, and from that we gather everything we need to make a match in 48 hours,” said Toy.
The company taps into AI to find the perfect pairing of talent and hiring companies, parsing intake questions and answers through an AI-powered system, scoring them across hundreds of traits and matching them to the right company. “Most of our customers end up hiring that first match,” said Toy.
But the journey doesn’t end there. “The first step is to find a good fit, but then they go off and do the work. How do we support that step? We are able to understand where people need more help, which leads to stickiness and longevity on the platform,” added Garber.
In Prowitt’s experience with their internal marketing department, there are a lot of business cases to be made for working with contractors. One that really stands out is the ability to adapt strategies fast.
“It’s recession-proof,” said Prowitt. “There’s a lot less risk you take on when working with a freelancer versus bringing someone on full-time if you have new channels you want to test out.”
Imagine: You are a millennial marketing director and decide your business should try out TikTok as a new channel. Unfortunately, you just missed the boat on learning to use TikTok and don’t have any expertise.
What do you do?
Option A: Spend a few weeks or months taking courses and learning the ropes before tentatively rolling out a test.
Option B: Create a job post, read dozens of resumes and conduct a handful of interviews to hire a new full- or part-time social media manager who has TikTok as a skill.
Option C: Quickly find a pre-vetted freelance TikTok expert and bring them on for the exact hours they are needed.
At MarketerHire, Prowitt can pick option C. Prowitt says in a scenario like this, the entire process — from ideation to execution — can sometimes occur within the same week.
“It’s really been a superpower to get the exact expertise we need when we need it,” said Toy. “We frequently change our focus on certain tactics, new and existing, based on results and market dynamics — and we simply adjust the team to suit our needs on demand. It’s also not only execution resources; we frequently bring in strategists to advise on niche playbooks we want to run. If we want to mimic a marketing playbook another company has run, we can often bring in someone who worked at that company.”
“If we want to mimic a marketing playbook another company has run, we can often bring in someone who worked at that company.”
In this way, the marketing strategy becomes like a buffet, where companies can test new channels a la carte and find the exact talent they need, for exactly as many hours as it takes to execute.
“Going into new channels is challenging because your team may not have the expertise to fairly test those channels,” said Toy. “However, if you do have a true expert in that channel driving the test, you can have peace of mind that it will be a good test and you can trust the results. We will know if that channel works for us within a couple of weeks versus figuring it out ourselves, which might take months.”
Does this kind of plug-and-play team come at the expense of a robust company culture? Not necessarily, according to Toy.
“The culture can seem a unique challenge but really it’s not different to building a culture with an in-house team,” said Toy. “You have to onboard them, introduce them, and treat them no different to any other team member. If you do that it’s pretty simple. At MarketerHire we have extensive employee onboarding and treat our freelancers the same. We introduce them to teams, add them to Slack channels and do one-on-ones. The more you make them feel like part of the team the easier it’ll be.”
Supporting the Freelance Revolution
While interest in self-employment is on the rise, some workers may be intimidated by the logistical challenges of working for themselves and be reluctant to dive in.
“If you ask any freelancer what the hardest part about freelancing is, they will almost certainly say everything unrelated to the work, such as business development, figuring out how much to charge, billing clients and getting them to pay on time,” said Toy. “MarketerHire handles all of that so that you can just focus on the work, that de-risks everything and makes it easy to dip your toes into freelancing.”
NEW PRODUCT: EXPERT ASSISTANT
With the economic turbulence, MarketerHire saw the need for a new product in its offerings. For a monthly subscription fee, the company provides a fully-vetted, college-educated and full-time offshore resource to support marketing, design and sales teams. “The XA program is amazing for any marketing team, but is especially important when we have a recession looming. There’s tremendous talent overseas and we knew we could apply our same model of vetting and on-demand matching to that talent while providing cost savings to our customers,” said Toy.
It’s an exciting time to be working at a company supporting new ways of working, Prowitt expressed. “As a director, I am enjoying learning so much from getting to try so many new things and having a team that can handle it,” she said.
“I’m excited about MarketerHire’s mission because it is exactly what the market needs in a recession,” added Toy. “Businesses still need customers, and marketers are crucial to finding them. Equally, companies are looking for cost savings and our XA program delivers that too. It’s exciting to have multiple products that deliver exactly what businesses need in a unique market for all of us.”